Monday, February 27, 2012

March is Reading Month Calendar

St. Paul Catholic School
March Reading Activities



Red for Reading Day

Free Dress - wear red to kick off Reading Month!
 (6th grade will get free dress on Friday instead)
Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Everyone will
“Drop Everything
And Read” to celebrate


Primary (K-2)
Book Exchange

Bring in 1-2 gently
used books

National Read Aloud Day

Each classroom will read a book aloud
Warm and Fuzzy Day

Free Dress - wear warn and fuzzy clothing and D.E.A.R. in your classroom
Primary (K-2)
Book Exchange
Choose a new gently used book, if you donated 1
Reading Olympics Starts!


Intermediate (3-5)
Book Exchange

Bring in 1-2 gently
used books

Intermediate (3-5)
Book Exchange
Choose a new gently used book, if you donated 1
St. Patrick’s Day


Junior High (6-8)
Book Exchange

Bring in 1-2 gently
used books

Author Visit

Johnathan Rand visits our school!
Be a Reading Jean-ius

Free Dress - wear jeans
Junior High (6-8)
Book Exchange

Choose a new gently used book, if you donated 1


Get “Mixed Up” with a Good Book

Free Dress – wear mismatched clothing

Friday, February 24, 2012

March is Reading Month Locker Project: A Love Letter to Your Favorite Book

For March is Reading Month we are going to be doing lots of fun bookish projects, the first of which is a love letter to your favorite book. This could be a book that has recently become close to your heart (like mine) or a book that holds fond memories for you from your childhood. The important thing is that you express your love and devotion for that book in only one page so that  it will fit on your locker.

Also necessary to include in your letter is a picture of the book cover. Here is the example that I wrote:

A love letter to my favorite book

Dearest Fault in Our Stars,
In my entire time residing on this planet, I have never declared one favorite book. When people ask what my favorite book is, I always tell them, "I have lots of favorites. I can't choose just one." Today, however, I am here to proclaim my love for my all-time favorite book as you dear Fault in Our Stars.
Back in January, I began to read you and ended up wiling away an entire day. I never do that. I don't have time anymore. But when I started to read the first pages of your heartbreaking story, I did not move from my chair until I finished.
I don't even know how to express my feelings for you in words dear Fault in Our Stars. Hazel and Augustus were real people to me. They were two of the most wonderful teenagers ever to have graced this planet, even if only in the pages of your brilliant book. So as their tragic story unfolded, I grieved for them. As I sat there reading, a pile of sodden tissues in my lap, my thoughts ping-ponged between sadness and joy. Conversations that were supposed to be tragic ended up making me laugh out loud at their light-heartedness and humor. Scenes that would have been cliché and caused me to roll my eyes in any other book made me weep at their tenderness and romanticism.
So thank you dear Fault in Our Stars. Thank you for Hazel and Augustus and Isaac and for all of the other amazing characters to grace your brilliant story. When I turned your final page, I grieved. Not just for the characters and for the end of you, but also for the fact that I don't know if any book I read from here on out will ever live up to you. You have made my reading life from this day forward a much more challenging endeavor and for that I am ever grateful.

My undying and everlasting love,

Beth Shaum

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Literature Circles Project: ABC Book

You will be asked to make an ABC book to represent important elements, symbols, settings, characters, etc. from your literature circle book.

The template you need to use for each of the letters is as follows:
A is for…
B is for…
C is for…

Your book must have:
   An illustrated cover with the title of the book, the book cover, and your name on it
   Something represented for each letter of the alphabet (you may choose to opt out of 3 letters.  Just keep in mind, if you do all 26, that shows me you have gone above and beyond and will most likely be rewarded for your extra effort)
   2-3 sentence explanation in a voice appropriate for a 6th grader to understand – i.e. not copied and pasted (plagiarized) from the internet (Keep in mind, I will be checking to see if you only do the minimum required for this part of the assignment and it will be reflected in your grade)
   A clear, colorful and aesthetically pleasing illustration that corresponds to each letter (you may draw, use clip art, or images from the internet)

In addition, you will also be graded on neatness and effort.

How you choose to create and present this book is up to you, but it should be presented in a neat, easy to read package.  So if you know that you have messy handwriting, typing the text might be the best course of action.  If you’re not the best artist, finding clip art and photos from the internet might be the better way to go.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Literature Circles Schedule and Assignments

This blog post is to inform you of when your lit circle groups will meet and also what you need to complete before and after your meeting.

Lit circle scheduled meetings:
Group 1: February 8, 14, 28
Group 2: February 9, 15, 29
Group 3: February 9, 15, 29
Group 4: February 10, 16, March 2
Group 5: February 10, 16, March 2

Before your meeting, you must do the following:

1)     Write a short summary in your journal of what you read (at least ½ page)
2)     Under your summary, write a ½ page reaction to what you just read
3)     Write 3 discussion questions for the group to talk about which can be done one of two ways:
·        Write the questions on post-its and put them on the page where you had the question
·        Write the questions in your journal and note the page number where you had the question
4)     Flag one passage to share with the group you found one or more of the following:
·        Interesting
·        Curious
·        Confusing
·        Beautiful
·        Frustrating
·        Enraging
·        Exciting
·        Surprising
5)     Make a prediction about what you think will happen next (yes, you can still do this even after you finish a book!)

After your meeting, you must do the following in your journal:

1)     In a paragraph, describe how the group meeting helped you better understand and/or appreciate the text.
2)     In a paragraph, describe your contribution to the group and how you think you should be graded for your participation.

A friendly reminder:

PLEASE resist the temptation to read too far ahead of your assigned reading. As we discussed in class, most often reading ahead results in stifled discussion and lack of participation due to the inability to share your thoughts with the group since you already KNOW the answer. The fun of literature circles is making these discoveries together, not showing off what a great reader you are because you finished before everyone else.

You are still expected to maintain an independent reading book WHILE you are participating in literature circles, so if you finish your assigned reading early, then move on to your independent reading book. If you can keep multiple TV shows straight for weeks at a time, you can read more than one book at time without much confusion.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Help for writing effective discussion questions

For your literature circles you are expected to write discussion questions to bring to your group meetings. This post is to give you some ideas and suggestions for how to go about writing effective questions for discussion.

Good Discussion Questions:
  • Are open-ended
  • Are specific to the story
  • Are not generic
  • Are not comprehension/recall questions (this is not a test!)
  • Encourage debate and critical thinking 

 Examples of effective discussion questions from Wonderstruck:
  • Do you think Ben will find his dad? Why or why not?
  • How do you think Ben and Rose's stories are related?
  • Why do you think Ben ran away to NYC even though he was deaf and couldn't communicate with people?
  • If you were Ben, would you have run off to NYC?

Examples of questions that are too general:
  • Who is your favorite character?
  • What was your favorite scene in the story?
  • What did you think of the ending?

Examples of ineffective discussion questions:
  • Where does the story take place?
  • Where does Ben run away to after he discovers he's deaf?
  • Who does Ben meet at the Museum of Natural History?